In sports, a tie is said to be like kissing your sister.
The Supreme Court decision Masterpiece Bakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case where a baker was punished for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding, was something like that. It was unrewarding for both sides.
The 7-2 decision ruled in favor of the baker, saying the state commission did not treat him fairly when it disparaged his religious beliefs. Also, the Court found the commission showed an obvious bias against this baker because it had upheld the right of other bakers to refuse to bake cakes with anti-gay themes. Unfortunately, the Court did not rule on the underlying issues in this case.
Therefore, the Colorado Civil Right’s Commission is still free to punish Christians in other professions who refuse to participate in gay weddings but it cannot show bias or the open hostility it did toward Phillips when commissioners suggested his objection to creating that cake was rhetorical and insincere. Instead, they must search for other ways to prove a business owner violates the state’s anti discrimination law. It’s the legal equivalent of the movie “Groundhog Day.”
Justice Clarence Thomas summed things up rather well in his concurring opinion joined by Justice Gorsuch, “Because the Court’s decision vindicates Phillips’ right to free exercise,’ it seems that religious liberty has lived to fight another day.” However, it may have to fight with one hand tied behind the First Amendment’s back!
There was no doubt about Jack Phillips’ sincerely held Christian beliefs. They were well known in his community of Lakewood, Colorado, where, in the past, he has turned down orders for cakes celebrating Halloween, bachelor party cakes, and a cake celebrating a divorce.
No one is forced to be a Christian but that right is protected by the First Amendment and the standards for the Christian faith are not optional. They are clearly laid out in the Bible which is available for everyone to inspect.
The instructions for the marriage union were established by God in Genesis 2:24 and confirmed by Jesus in In Matthew 19:4-5, “. . .Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female …For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one?”
In addition to those instructions on marriage, the Bible condemns homosexuality in the strongest terms in Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13.
The admonition against this practice is spelled out clearly in Romans 1. I Timothy 9 and 10 contains two Greek words, generally translated to mean homosexuals, among the ungodly and sinners. Finally I Corinthians 6:9 contains two greek words generally translated to mean homosexuals, or those who allow themselves to be used homosexually, along with the adulterers and fornicators. In this section, the Bible explains that all who misuse the gift of sex will not inherit the kingdom of God.
It appears to be no accident that this gay couple sauntered into this particular bakery and asked Phillips to create a cake celebrating their marriage. They were looking for a fight and a reason to sue. When Phillips explained that he could not do a wedding cake for them, he offered to sell them any cake in the shop, but this was not good enough. Shortly thereafter, the threatening phone calls began.
For a group that asks for tolerance and acceptance, this couple represents the exact opposite. They and their extreme followers will not be satisfied until everyone is forced, not simply to accept their marriage, but to affirm it.
Despite all the money, time and effort that has been spent trying to defend Phillips and others caught up in this legal morass, we still don’t know if a butcher, baker or candlestick maker (or any other business owner) whose faith prevents him or her from participating in a gay wedding can be forced to do so by the courts.
The high court simply sidestepped the central issues of protected speech and religious liberty as it did in Roe v Wade when it failed to address the central question of when life begins.
Certainly, if the Supreme Court can say that burning a flag is protected speech, the same should apply to creating a wedding cake!
Must we wait indefinitely for just and fair decisions on these central issues that have divided the country for far too long? This is dereliction of duty at the highest level!